The most beautiful sights in Val d’Orcia, the Renaissance icon
8 March 2017
The landscape of Val d’Orcia has been defined as the best possible combination between art and nature, because of its charming dwellings, medieval churches and castles that dot the hills, covered with vineyards, olive groves, cypress, beech and chestnut trees.
These peculiarities have contributed to the inclusion of Val d’Orcia in the Unesco World Heritage Sights list, a good reason to explore the most beautiful places of this part of Tuscany; so we have carefully selected the 6 must-see sights in Val d’Orcia, inviting you to follow a route marked by the mixture of colors that give life to a work of art.
Rocca d’Orcia is a small hamlet in Castiglione d’Orcia and is located around the ridge on which stands the fortress of Tentennano, the viewpoint that lets you see the entire valley from the top and take memorable photos.
This fortress, dating back to the XII century, was reputed to be impregnable and was restored to become the main tourist attraction of this place.
The town has remained unaltered over the years, partly because of depopulation, so the fortress has remained the landmark for visitors wishing to explore the territory.
From the top of the fortress you can see Mount Amiata, the row of roofs of Pienza, the romantic hamlets of Monticchiello and Montalcino, the mounds above Cetona, and the Radicofani tower rising on the horizon.
The Rock of Tentennano is open every day, however, visit this website www.comune.castiglionedorcia.siena.it for opening hours.
Castiglioncello del Trinoro
Did you know that the Val d’Orcia has a terrace? It’s called Castiglioncello del Trinoro and is a town stretching over the valley, 800 meters high, at a short distance from Sarteano, one of the most characteristic hamlets of Val d’Orcia.
You arrive here following a path out of the most popular routes, because you have to follow a dirt road to get to the top, but it’s worth it: in Castiglioncello were found the remains of a medieval fortress which make it the surrounding landscape even more evocative. In the hamlet there is also a small church, still open, where it’s possible to celebrate weddings.
The commitment to reach this place is amply repaid by the view from the panoramic terrace.
Abbey of Sant’Antimo
Here history and legend are tied; this is due to one of the most beautiful Romanesque churches in Italy, the Abbey of Sant’Antimo. To admire it you have to go to Montalcino, the land of the prestigious Brunello wine, and in particular in the hamlet of Castelnuovo dell’Abate, where stands the Abbey.
The legend says it was built by Charlemagne, who managed to escape the plague during a pilgrimage to Rome in 781. For this reason he decided to found a monastery in this area; today the crypt and the Carolingian chapel are the remains of the former monastery.
The Abbey of Sant’Antimo is one of the places that enclose the charm and magic mood of Val d’Orcia, so it’s an unmissable stop on a tour dedicated to the panoramic sights. For more information: www.antimo.it.
Pieve di Corsignano
The Pieve di Corsignano is only 1 km from Pienza and is one of the oldest churches in Val d’Orcia. It’s a stage of the Via Francigena, the spiritual trail that in recent years is back in vogue even among the travelers who enjoy slow tourism, traveling by walk to discover the places that have remained unaltered over the centuries.
The Pieve (a parish church) stands as a monument in the middle of the countryside and is of considerable historical importance: here, in 1405, Pope Pius II was baptized. Later, this Pope redesigned Pienza, the town became the Pearl of the Renaissance.
Monticchiello is one of the lesser known treasures of Val d’Orcia, a destination that amazes even the most experienced tourist, by virtue of the fortified Rocca, the ancient dwellings covered with climbing ivy and the narrow streets that invite you to explore every corner of the hamlet.
To enjoy a stunning panoramic view, we suggest to climb the walls that surround Monticchiello, we are confident that you will experience unforgettable emotions.
In the historic center it is worth visiting the Church of Saints Leonardo e Cristoforo, while the most characteristic event of Monticchiello is the “Poor Theatre” performances, theater shows which takes place in the squares of Monticchiello at summer.
Chapel of Our Lady of Vitaleta
If you are looking for the most poetic and representative glimpse, you might find it between Pienza and San Quirico d’Orcia, where rises the Chapel of Our Lady of Vitaleta.
It’s a church of the late-Renaissance period and is nestled among cypress trees and vineyards that make out the beauty; here we feel the sensation that the work of man is seated perfectly in breathtaking scenery, creating a landscape that has inspired dozens of artists over the centuries.
It’s impossible to resist the charm of these places so rich in history, so we hope that any traveler can find his own favorite scene in Val d’Orcia.